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The way I see it - if you're going to build a time machine, why not build it with some style?!

Doc Brown

Doc Brown, the wide-eyed eccentric scientist from the “Back To The Future” trilogy, was one of my favorite movie characters from my childhood.  Doc, Marty, Biff, and the rest of the BTTF crew had a major impact on me, both personally and professionally.  I was obsessed with the idea of time travel, the wonders of going to any point in time – and the dangers of what can happen when it gets tampered with.  I remember my palms sweating profusely at the tender age of 6 *every time* I watched as Marty McFly was racing toward the stretched cable in the DeLorean as Doc feverishly tried to reconnect the power cables before lightening struck the clock tower – even though I had watched it hundreds of times before, my palms STILL would get sweaty!


Professionally, I was blown away by the special FX and the well thought out logic of how one would prepare to travel in time.  As Doc studiously walked us through the process, we learned that “First, you turn the time circuits on” and how “This one tells you where you’re going, this one tells you where you are, and this one tells you where you were”.  Of course, the cornerstone of time travel was the flux capacitor.  The thought process and steps to initiate a journey from point A to point B acted as a catalyst for me as a UI Designer.  I have always approached any given UI Design with the idea that form follows function, but form also inspires function.  A key component that supports this methodology, is the journey that occurs in between point “A” and point “B” respectively.  One of my favorite quotes that Doc Brown said was “the way I see it – if you’re going to build a time machine, why not build it with some style?!”  This motto is paramount to me as it applies to the end user – and this is where the UX comes in – you can have the most stable, logical, and purpose-driven UI, but at the end of the day, folks expect the unexpected; they desire, almost “will” you as the designer to present them with a journey that creates a memorable moment, no matter how fast or slow it may be.


At the Dallas Comic Con this year (2014), I was lucky enough to have a “memorable moment” of my own.  Christopher Lloyd was there to meet fans and take photos with them alongside the iconic DeLorean.  Apparently, he was making himself available to help raise money for the Michael J. Fox Parkinson’s Disease Treatment Foundation.  Needless to say, my inner child was overjoyed at the opportunity.  Like the scene from Back to the Future 3 when Marty and Doc get their picture taken in front of the clock, I got to have a moment frozen in time that I will treasure forever:

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